ONE OF COLORADO'S 10 MOST ICONIC
A Brief History
At the turn of the last century, this historic building was built and owned by E.J. Defrancia in 1904. 740 Front is one of Colorado's two oldest bars, the oldest ongoing tavern license in the state, and to the community, a priceless treasure steeped in memory and local lore. 740 Front is the last remaining saloon of the original thirteen that lined the 3-block strip of Front Street.
E.J. Defrancia was the Louisville agent for Tivoli Beer. Tivoli started brewing in 1859, becoming one of the largest brewers in the country and the second oldest continuously operating brewery in the country before its closure in 1969. The brand and beer were resurrected in 2012 and moved back into its original brewery and location on the Auraria campus in 2015.
THE BAR: The awesome, room-dominating back bar was built in the mid 1800's by the Brunswick Company, in Dubuque, Iowa. Cherrywood, Birch, and Flame mahogany make up this 'Del Monte' model which was cut-to-fit constructed, without nails.
Before finding its home in Louisville in 1904, the bar was originally built and spent its early years in Leadville, Colorado. Until Tivoli, with the aid of Defrancia, decided to bring the bar to Louisville from Leadville, by horse and wagon, not an easy feat in the Rocky Mountains.
Due to dangerous gases in the coal mines, the miners could not smoke so most chewed tobacco. The copper spit trough, once equipped with running water, still exists along the floor of the front bar and functioned as a stable, easy to hit, spit- toon.
THE SALOON: During its early days, the saloon had an icehouse operating in the current lower "Coal Miners" dining room. The original hand-crank elevator was used, until recent renovation, to bring ice, beer barrels and the occasional drunk to the basement.
Rumor is that most of Louisville's saloons, relegated to Front St to keep "the sinners" off Main Street, were connected by tunnels to facilitate clandestine imbibing, gambling and womanizing. In the event of an unscheduled visit from the reve- nuers, state police or an errant wife, a handy exit was available.
Miners assisted digging the tunnels only during the summer months. The grade of coal mined in Louisville being weak and brittle, mining for profit only took place in the winter months. What looks like bricked up tunnel entrances in the base- ment attest to the credibility of this rumor.
Additionally, legend has it that 740 Front was the heart of the "red light district", a brothel operating in the back of the building, where the current “Upper Loft” dining room exists. Railway hands were accommodated by the "full service" saloon, by repute, drawing business from the neighboring train stations. In addition, the tale is that the basement and its environs are still the home to a mischievous ghost named Samantha, a harlot who was stabbed to death by one of her less than satisfied customers.
Historically, Louisville was the only "wet town" in Boulder County.until 1969, Notorious for its drinking, gambling, and illegal activities, evidence of the occasional misunderstanding is the .22 caliber bullet hole in the lower right corner of the front bar.
During prohibition in the 20's, windows were covered up to hide illicit activity, two skylights were installed to bring in light. The main bar skylight was replaced with the chandelier that currently hangs there, installed during 740's recent reno- vations.
The 740 Front building was designated historic and landmarked in 2014 by the City of Louisville. As a result, the exteri-or has been renovated and restored back to it's original 1904 design.
In the interior, original material and artifacts have been repurposed and incorporated into the tabletops, upper dinning room ceiling, hostess stand and where ever else deemed practical. The partition walls, ceilings, floors and fixtures all have a story.
The abiding philosophy of the owners and operators is a commitment to the enduring and timeless standards that are of a time bygone, but faithfully reflected in the renovation as well as the operating standards of the business.
740 Front offers Dinner Tuesday thru Saturday
The bar offers a choice selection of craft beers, wines, handcrafted cocktails and top craft bourbon selections.
The menu features signature steaks, chops, fresh seafood, oysters & pasta along with burgers and salads.
"Steaks not well done but done well"
"Something for Everyone"